'Watching' by Saki101

Should have stayed inside, Eli thought. A breeze ruffled his hair, kept the sun warming his back from feeling too hot, yet tension was building across his shoulders. He dug his fingertips into the taut muscles, then left his hands at the base of his neck and continued watching.

Eli stretched to see over the terrace wall to the sea. The waves were small, only an occasional one foaming white, the water turquoise.

I should go down to the beach, Eli reasoned. He had the towels, stacked beside him on the little metal and glass table, his book and sun tan lotion balanced on top. The page with the crossword from last Sunday's New York Times was folded inside the book and a mechanical pencil was clipped to the cover. He would be very comfortable lying on the beach, waiting to reach that ideal temperature for a swim. Still, it was difficult not to continue tracing Nathaniel's silhouette against the bright sky as he stood across the terrace, the sleeves of his white polo shirt hugging his biceps, its colour accentuating how deep his tan had already become. There were dark freckles scattered on Nathaniel's skin. Sun kisses, he said they were called. "Even the sun is enamoured of you?" Eli had teased and proceeded to kiss every one he could see. Nathaniel had laughed. Eli kept searching and finding more until Nathaniel’s laughter stopped and the breaths he drew were uneven.

Eli willed himself to pick up his belongings and head for the stairs to the garden and the sand beyond. He caught Nathaniel's eye over the shoulder of the shapely blonde who was giggling at whatever he had just said. Nathaniel's eyes widened and Eli finally looked away.

Nathaniel was lounging, shirtless, underneath the beach umbrella when Eli returned from his swim. Eli pushed his hair back from his face and knelt on the other side of the blanket. Nathaniel offered an open bottle of water, its sides beaded with condensation. Eli drank and handed it back. Nathaniel pushed it deep into the sand. Settling on his stomach, Eli folded his arms under his chin. A warm towel brushed along his back.

"How many hearts did you break on the way here?"

"None." Nathaniel passed the towel over Eli's legs.

Eli snorted.

"I may have piqued some erotic interest, but no hearts were involved," Nathaniel continued, tossing the towel at Eli's head. Eli rubbed his hair, then tucked the towel under his chin. He heard a snap when Nathaniel uncapped the suntan lotion and squirted it across Eli’s back. The oil had grown hot on the sand. "Tilt your head forward," Nathaniel said, kneading Eli's neck.

"How did you know my neck was stiff?"

Nathaniel massaged the base of Eli’s skull, around his ears, back to his shoulders. "On the terrace, you had your hands behind your neck," Nathaniel replied.

Eli looked over his shoulder and raised an eyebrow.

"Did you think I wasn't watching?" Nathaniel asked.


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